Is It Possible To Influence In A Sustainable Way?
The world of marketing has vastly changed over recent years. The rise of bloggers, Instagram influencers and YouTube stars have made brands rethink the way they spend their marketing budget and grow their sales or clientele. I personally feel that if you are a new business selling a product or service these days and you do not have a strong social media presence you will not succeed. I see a lot of bloggers and influencers calling themselves a 'sustainable blogger', 'slow fashion blogger' 'green beauty blogger' but yet the way they operate is not sustainable or green in any way. You cannot be a sustainable blogger and then sell the items you have been given or gifted in 'blogger sales' because if you are truly sustainable the items you receive should only be items you need and want to keep. So, is it possible to the a blogger or influencer whilst still being ethical and sustainable? Yes! Here's how...
10 Ways To Be A Sustainable Blogger Or Influencer
1. Only work with brands you genuinely like or support. This for me is the most important thing. I cannot promote something I do not or have not used myself. Just because a company is offering you money does not mean you should agree to promote them. When my friends come to my house they see that I am using the products I promote and wearing the clothes they have seen on my social media. So it builds trust with your following.
2. Be aware of companies who use 'greenwashing'. Have you heard of this? It's where companies try and imply they are sustainable or eco friendly by the language they use but in fact are not. There are many examples of this which I may delve further into in a separate post. Greenwashing is such a big issue right now as brands see the trend in people moving away from toxic high street or high end brands.
3. Decide whether you are going to charge for your services and/or if you are open to product exchange. Many genuine sustainable companies may be small or start-ups who do not have a budget to pay for marketing but may be happy for exchange products for services. You just need to negotiate a fair exchange.
4. Only accept products that you genuinely need. I often tell brands I don't need certain things, it could mean that the collaboration is postponed until a times when I do, or different products are selected if possible. Don't say yes to more face oil if you have two years worth of other face oil brands in your bathroom. The shelf life of most genuine green beauty products is 6-12 months so keep that in mind. You don't want to be throwing or giving away unused products because you have too much. Try and plan ahead a little, if you know you are running out of something or need a new clothing item for the upcoming season then be proactive and find a collaboration that might work.
5. Have a genuine story to tell as to why you like or use the product. What purpose does it serve and how may it help others? This makes your influence higher value and more likely to convert to sales for the client. But make sure you are genuine about it!
6. Do not sell your items via you IG page or at blogger sales 'as new' like many other bloggers do. If the size is not right then return or exchange it for something else from the brand. They will most likely be happy to help you. Don't use it as a way of making money. If the items do not suit your style or fit into your daily wardrobe then say no or choose something different.
7. Borrow items from PR companies or local stores for special events or occasions. Always be honest about this rather than buying and wearing the item then returning (which is also what a lot of bloggers do).This works for those times where you want something a little special but would not be something you would wear again or often. Many PR companies are happy to lend for events, talks, parties etc. so make some contacts.
8. Don't make your followers feel like the 'need more clothes'. Show them that you wear your items multiple times and that you genuinely love them. I wear my things regularly, my clients see me wearing them and are more likely to ask where I got them from or about the brand. I do not put clothes on just to go and take a picture to post.
9. Try to avoid brands who use plastic, plastic packaging or other non eco-friendly practices. Sometimes it's hard to avoid plastic all-together, but take note of the ones who are actively trying to minimise it. I try to now only work with beauty brands who store their products in glass, and I then clean these containers and keep for use for other things.
10. When you are done with your clothes, try and reuse them in some way or repair them before putting into recycling. Can you make something else out of it? Can it be fixed? Would someone else get some use out of it?
I hope this helps a little with understanding what it means to be a genuine sustainable blogger or influencer. There is always room for improvement and I am changing the way I work everyday. Don't expect to be perfect but try and constantly be improving how sustainable, ethical or eco-friendly you life is. Don't forget to check my Instagram page @helen_turner_ to keep up to date with things I'm up to!
Enjoy your Sunday!